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There are times when content marketers, content teams, marketing teams are seemingly placed in front of an empty chalk board and then given a piece of chalk and told “Here you go. Go do the thing now, please. You know, fill up the board. Fill it up with some really interesting things. Oh, and also, as quick as possible. Please.”
This is true if you’re facing a quarterly strategy plan, a new month in the blog schedule, deciding on webinar subjects, getting a “more video” request, etc.
And while this is without question what marketers are responsible for, and therefore, what’s the big deal? Get on with it. That doesn’t mean these tasks are always easy.
A very popular response from marketers about adding interactive content into their marketing mix is “I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
Daunting is the blank canvas. Even more daunting is a newer content format that has so much versatility and possibility.
Though this is a very reasonable reaction to have, that doesn’t mean you should fully stand by it.
Imagine seeing a bicycle for the first time. What is that thing? I’m suppose to ride it? Ride it, and not succumb to gravitational pull, slamming my body flat into the hard, indifferent earth?
Ideally, you’d have a little help. Someone to say, put your right foot here, push down the pedal, and, with forward momentum, lift your left foot and place it on the left pedal - then continue! Look, you’re riding!
And that’s exactly what I hope this post will do.
Last fall, SnapApp published an Interactive Experience most closely related to the infographic family. It’s called Content Land: An Interactive Quest.
In this post, I’ll take you through the steps it took from interactive content ideation to campaign execution. Along the way, you’ll learn how to think about interactive content for your own marketing tool shed.
First thing’s first. Where did this idea come from? Often, interactive content assets are best made to better promote a larger core asset. Much of the material can be taken straight from that large core asset, say an ebook, to create a preview experience and boost engagement.
This is strong practice, and delivers many more touchpoints for that large core asset than standard campaign promotion.
However, for Content Land, we wanted to create an interactive asset that would achieve three main goals on its own:
With those three goals established, a loose infographic format was chosen and we started to think about funnel positioning.
With the focus on informing and entertaining, top of the funnel was the more obvious target. But since we also wanted to show off what that SnapApp platform was capable of and close with a demo request, we decided to include the content as a sales enablement piece for more bottom-of-the-funnel leads as well.
Alright, we’ve established the goals, and general format of the content – but how do we actually make this a unique and enjoyable experience? The plight of B2B marketing.
Well, instead of thinking of our audience as a bunch of businesses, or marketing departments, or sub departments – we thought, what would grab an individual person’s attention, regardless of company or position?
We’re all people! We all like things outside of our jobs.
So we decided to follow this train of thought and that led us to creating a sort of game approach – better yet, a board game. Which board game crossed everyone’s childhoods and presented a series of different settings? Clue? Kind of. That would be a fun interactive setting. But we weren’t trying to solve a murder here. Monopoly? A little too obvious, and logistically complicated.
Candy Land! Of course!
An unanimous approval across our team and our theme had been selected.
We’ve sketched out and agreed upon creative, determined our goals, and selected the format. Before going into full research and writing mode, we needed to make sure that our content angle and main points were synced with what our sales team’s needs.
In order to produce the type of leads that don’t just fill our MQL quota, but actually hit our sweet spot of prospects who are interested and ready to join the interactive content future, we needed to understand what Sales really considers a good lead.
Including our sales team into the planning process allowed us to know what they consider a Sales Qualified Lead, who they typically like to talk to, and what types of questions interested prospects often have.
With the ability to ask questions throughout content experiences, it’s important to know that you’re asking the right ones so your database is fueled with genuinely useful data.
This is where we established our six main data points we wanted to learn from our prospects, but without using a typical lead form:
This part should be a relative no brainer. But it’s always good to reiterate the importance of research – collecting and gathering statistics found from recent reports, finding prospect needs and complaints on various online communities, what subjects and keywords are trending recently and are top of mind for marketers.
This part also includes meeting with sales, because they tell us what is really on the minds of people they talk to everyday – what problems they’re having and what they’re responding to for solutions.
Related reading: 9 Essential Tips for Researching Your Next Content Campaign
Actual assembly. First a preliminary outline of the main design and different stages of the experience was drafted and shared with the design team for collaboration. Then, the actual full copy drafted out.
Our design team created custom images for this particular piece of content. Once all copy and design elements were finished, the process was a quick turn around for assembly within the SnapApp platform. Animations, transitions, and multiple choice questions were applied with quick setting features, as well as the addition of smart text which takes a specific user’s answers and uses them later in the content as part of the text.
No developers needed. The content was built collaboratively between the content writer and graphic designer.
All data collected through the experience was sent to our Marketo marketing automation system through integration settings. We used a SnapApp feature that allows any known user to our Marketo database to skip the lead form.
Once all the bells and whistles were complete. We shared Content Land internally for any user experience notes. How was it? Easy? Fun? Any snags?
We collected feedback, made a few minor adjustments, and were ready to launch.
Involved from the very initial brainstorming meeting, our Demand Gen team crafted a cross-channel promotion plan throughout the building process. This included:
The content and calls to action for promotion were focused on the quest aspect, inviting people to take break and have a little fun learning about interactive content.
Before we set everything loose into the wild, we met with our sales team again to go over the finished product, discuss modes of planned promotion, and how to use Content Land during demos and at events to explain how interactive content can work for all marketing departments.
Well, there you have it – Content Land, from concept to content. Now, this is just the life of one piece of interactive content in a content world capable of so many other lives.
The process we just covered is pretty sound practice for any large piece of content. Including graphic designers, demand gen team members, and even sales throughout the process keeps everyone synced up and focused on the same goals.
With interactive content, it is especially helpful to include a variety of members in planning because the performance of a single piece can produce powerful results in audience engagement, lead conversion, qualification, database enrichment, nurture stream placement, sales acceleration… the list could continue.